Thursday, October 30, 2014

death by stereo.


Yup, it's time for the annual Arena Halloween mixes.
Three hours of spooky songs, terrifying themes and sinister samples.
Enjoy!

Death by Stereo: Download here.

Death by Stereo 2: Download here.

Friday, October 24, 2014

slashtastic.

Coming soon from writer/director (and most importantly fan of this blog - and by that I mean he says nice things about it, not threatens to stab my family because I criticized Rob Zombie ) Carl Bachmann, a horror/comedy hybrid that from footage shown so far, is actually really funny.

If not a little horrific too.

Surprised?

You should be.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you Party Slashers!



Currently looking for funding thru Kickstarter, Party Slashers tells the (almost) true story of Will, a high school Mr. Popular wannabe who as well as finishing his costume for the big Halloween party, is desperately trying to figure out how to get noticed by his high school crush, Heather, the girl that haunts his every waking moment.

And a few of his sticky sleepy ones too.

Meanwhile, his introverted ex- best bud, the roleplaying game obsessed Russell, is busying himself with a particularly intense game of Dungeons & Dragons, you see like all good games masters he takes his campaigns very seriously.

Seriously enough to spice up the game by chanting a spell from a mysterious necromancer book that he found in the woods.

Unfortunately, as is usually the case when you use bizarre occult books before first checking the index, the spell succeeds in raising the deadly “Revenants”, muderous undead killers from beyond the grave.

Which as we know is a bad place to come from.


One of these cast members is now on my crush/stalking list...I think I'll leave it as a surprise tho'. Hate her to be out when I turn up on her doorstep.


 Worse than that tho' is that the cops have busted the big party, leaving Will no alternative but to invite everyone to Russell's huge house in the middle of nowhere (his parents are never, ever home either which is a plus) to continue the evenings celebrations and most importantly give himself more time to impress Heather.

The sly fox.

Things never go according to plan tho' and upon Will and co's arrival Russell is understandably furious with his ex pal, until his secret crush, the angsty hipster Angie walks in which quickly changes his mind.

 And trust me, I've seen her and she's very, very cute.


Tunnel or funnel?


 With the party continuing unabated and everyone happy (for once) Russell completely forgets about the occult book and it's spells pertaining to the revernants.

Which is a wee bit unfortunate as they haven't forgotten about him.

Cue ninety minutes of wholesale slaughter and frighteningly funny humour as Will teams up with Russell, Heather and Angie in a fight for survival.

Ill-equipped, unskilled, and anything but team players, this rag-tag group’s true colours soon come to the fore.

But before they can deal with death-dispatching revenants, they’ll first need to deal with each other.

And it'll be anything but pretty.

In pink.


Tiffany: I think we're alone now.

Cutting his (cinematic) teeth directing the award-winning dark comedy/musical, "Miracle on Metal Street", Bachmann promises that Party Slashers will be "a non-stop funny and lethal adventure unlike anything you've seen before." 

And from the clips I've seen I believe him.

Party Slashers needs you, so head over to the Kickstarter site and tell them I sent you.

End of plug.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

crate balls of fire.

As regular readers of The Arena will know, it's not often that your humble host receives a correspondence that doesn't involve death/legal threats or just general abuse and those of you with long memories and short fuses will probably still have a warm fuzzy feeling whenever 'Megan' is mentioned.

Who knew?!!?

For those of you new here, that was the time I was blamed for the abduction (and subsequent murder) of the fictional lead character in the film Megan is Missing.

Indeed I still get scarily threatening emails to this day regarding her whereabouts.

So you can imagine my surprise when an email from the lovely Alex from the even lovelier Man Crates: Gifts for Men arrived inviting me to put together a four item horror survival crate of my own I couldn't resist.

Especially seeing as they still have the negatives from my last gig at Amanda Bynes birthday party.

More challenging than that tho' was the thought of a designing a horror crate specifically aimed at helping me survive on my home turf.

Yup, no guns and the like here, you see I'm in 'sunny' Scotland, birthplace of such terrors as the Loch Ness Monster, cannibal king Sawney Bean, John Barrowman and The Wicker Man.

And like them my kit was going to have to be durable, waterproof and look good in Tartan.

It's a crate! For a man! It's a Man Crate!


Firstly and probably most importantly is gonna be something to wear, something designed to suit the Scottish weather and terrain and with big enough pockets to leave me hands free for the inevitable scuffle cum girly fist fight I'll no doubt end up in.

Yes, I'm talking the Kilt.

But not just any old kilt, I mean the specially adapted Combat Kilt.

And in khaki of course! 

Well if it's good enough for George Lazenby...

For a second item I'm thinking sustenance, sugar and multi-usage all in one wonderful bottle.

Yup, Scotland's national tipple, Irn Bru.

Made in Scotland from girders. Allegedly.

Packed with enough secret ingredients to keep you alert for days, when empty the bottle can be refilled with water, used as a makeshift weapon or rolling pin and if the situation gets desperate you could always put an SOS in it and hope for the best.

Tho' I probably wouldn't put too much faith in the last one.


If you've got a kilt you might as well go all the way and pack a skean dhu too. For the uninitiated it's the small knife traditionally worn in the right sock with the handle showing. Usually used for cutting Haggis or wood, picking bark out of your teeth and as Dog Soldiers showed us a silver version is perfect for taking on Werewolves.

If you're still confused imagine a Swiss Army Knife but with just the sharp, stabby bit.


"Call that a knife?"

Finally you'll need a good old fashioned umbrella (the larger the better). Not only will this be useful to shield yourself from the elements (we've been known to have sunshine, rain, hail and snow within minutes of each other) but again it can double up as a walking stick - useful when testing uneven terrain - the handle can be hooked on trees to cross rivers (possibly), you can use it to prod monsters to keep them at bay and, when opened and closed quickly whilst shouting can be useful if you need to scare away any birds.

Especially undead/mutant ones.

OK, maybe not this big. Tho' it may be that the people featured are very tiny.

So remember dear readers, stay alert and keep these items to hand at all times.

You never know we your life may depend on them.

people you fancy but shouldn't (part 50).


Amanda Mealing AKA ice queen Connie Beauchamp in  Casualty. 
I blame the Sky Box running over after Doctor Who.






Saturday, October 11, 2014

angel eyes.

Don't Blink (2014).
Dir: Travis Oates.
Cast:  Mena Suvari, Brian Austin Green, Zack Ward, Joanne Kelly, Fiona Gubelmann, David de Latour, Leif Gantvoort, Curtiss Frisle, Emelie O’Hara and Samantha Jacober.

Don't blink. Blink and you're dead. They are fast. Faster than you can believe. Don't turn your back. Don't look away. And don't blink. Good Luck...hang on, that's Doctor Who.


A motley group of ten best buds - including such well worn characters as the loved up Jack and Tracy (Chromeskull's Green and former American Beauty Suvari), ginger rocket Alex (Resident Evil: Apocalypse's Ward), bookish Claire (Kelly) strange fish Noah (the Violet Wolf Ranger himself, de Lautour) and the laid back Sam (The Amazing Spider-Man' cash register crook himself Gantvoort) - get a wee bit of a surprise when upon arriving at a mountain resort in New Mexico they've booked for a weekend getaway discover that the entire area is totally deserted.

And by deserted I mean no people, birds or insects.

In fact the entire place is deader than a DLT's career options.

Which to our American readers is very, very dead indeed.

Paddington.


Having a quick scout around (which is more Gordon Kaye than DLT but there you go) our brave band discover definite signs of recent habitation; a cold uneaten breakfast sits on a table, there are unlock cars scattered around the hotels grounds and in one case a pair of boots left in a toilet cubicle as if their owner had simply vanished out of them.

Or was very thin and had fallen into the bowl and accidentally flushed themselves away whilst trying to climb out obviously.

The general conscientious is to leave ASAP but with the petrol pumps locked and no key available our merry band are left with the choice of a long walk in the snow or sticking around in the hope that they've inadvertently turned up in the middle of the world hide and seek  championships.

"Are you looking at my bra?"

Trying to make the most of what could be a shit scary situation (as opposed to just a pee yourself with fear kinda thing) the group decide to retire to the resort kitchen to prepare some snacks - especially some of those little cocktail sausages you get wrapped in bacon).

Then suddenly and without warning (nope not even a musical cue) one by one they start to vanish.

"And whatever you do don't get the discs mixed up when you take it back to the shop..."


Came across this recently (not in that way) and immediately had to see it....I mean it's called Don't Blink, it has folk disappearing in it and it features Mena Suvari?

This is going to be a laughable riff on the classic Doctor Who episode Blink isn't it?

At the very least it'll worth watching to take the piss out of I thought....

How wrong I was.

Who'd have thought that the man best known for voicing Piglet in Winnie The Pooh would bring us the most satisfying horror movie so far this year?


"Now hands up any of you who are Steven Moffat fans."

From it's lo-fi, old school premise via a confident believable cast to a bravely ambiguous conclusion, Don't Blink harks back to the heady days of The Twilight Zone (could this be a pattern emerging?) forgoing cheap shocks for a slow build up and some genuine surprises both in character reactions and situations.

Setting the film mainly in daylight and replacing the expected tween cast with a group of likable thirtysomethings is another stroke of greatness from writer/director Oates as is the brave choice of not over conceptualizing the films disappearances.

I was dreading some half arsed explanation for the unfolding events and was honestly taken by surprise at the movies climax.

Probably the most enjoyable 'unknown' flick since 2009's Pontypool, this little gem is a cut above the norm.

Seek it out, watch it, pass it on.

And whatever you do don't blink.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

honey to the b.

Everybody (and their canine companion) has been raving about this little gem so I thought I’d give it a go.

But did I enjoy it?

Hint: it's a fairly short review so that usually means yes.

Will wonders ever cease?

Honeymoon (2014).
Dir: Leigh Janiak.
Cast:  Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber and Hanna Brown.

You taste the same. But you're different.


The sickeningly saccharine Bea (independence hating Game of Thrones star and sister of John, Leslie) and Paul (Penny Dreadful's Victor Frankenstein Treadaway) are heading off to a cosy rustic cabin set deep in a secluded forest near the town she was bought up in ready to celebrate their recent wedding.

As a treat upon arrival Bea decides to take her man to eat at her favourite restaurant whose redneck owner Will (Huber) happens to not only be her childhood beau but a wee bit of a mentalist too.

Hmmm.....she's maybe not thought this thru' has she?


"I'm sorry but it's my womans period."


With his mousy wife squeaking around in the background Will does his best to scare the happy couple away inbetween hugging Bea, sniffing his baseball cap and muttering slightly cryptic comments regarding the soup of the day ultimately persuading Paul that they should maybe stick to cheese on toast for tea.

Six rounds of cooked bread, a packet of Digestive biscuits and a shag later and everything seems back to normal for our cuddling couple, until later that night when Bea goes missing, reappearing the next day wondering naked in the woods with no idea as to how she got there and a nasty smell coming from her lady garden.

Scary.

Your mums fingers yesterday.


Claiming that she was sleepwalking due to the stress of getting hitched to a scientist obsessed with reanimating corpses Bea does her best to make the rest of the honeymoon go swimmingly.

However, as the days roll by, Bea's behaviour becomes wackier and battier, from having to keep a note of her husbands name and address in case she forgets them to suffering from irritating itches in her private place (and I don't mean Ipswich) whilst Paul (always the bright one) begins to suspect that weird Will may have had a hand (or at least a few of his dirty big sausage fingers) in the whole situation.

"I love you....could it be magic?"


 Alas, if only it were that simple.

Cue creepy shadows, random lights and the spookiest Post-It notes you'll see on celluloid this year as our young lovers vacation heads toward a genuinely unnerving climax.

Which is slightly spoiled by a really unnecessary coda but never mind.


Admit it, we all would even if she voted against Scottish independence and was covered in scabs.   



 Writer-director Leigh Janiak's debut feature is a breath of much needed fresh air (literally) after almost a year of half-baked found footage bollocks and poorly made slasher shite (I'm looking at you House of The Witch Doctor) which within its short running time gives you hope for the future of intelligent horror.

From it's small yet pitch perfect cast to it's cut down to a minimum plot, Honeymoon's script (by Janiak and Phil Graziadei) has echoes of Rosemary’s Baby and, to a point Invasion of the Bodysnatchers in it's DNA which let's be honest are a much more exciting inspiration than a dozen 'alleged' true haunting hodgepodges.

Simple, scary and surprisingly effective, the only downside for me was the aforementioned second climax, after having only hinted at the otherworldly forces at play throughout the film, it seemed a shame to signpost the finale so blatantly.

Personally, cutting to black after the lake sequence would have been a far more effective and shocking way to finish the film.

But what do I know?

I mean I love Lifeforce.

See it, support it and fingers crossed for Leigh Janiak's next project.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

autopilot.

Was wondering recently where all the horror movies set on aeroplanes had gone.

Oh look, there's one....How lucky is that?

Well not very if you're a passenger on flight...

7500 (2014).
Dir:  Takashi Shimizu.
Cast: Jamie Chung, Ryan Kwanten, Amy Smart, Nicky Whelan, Ben Sharples, Scout Taylor-Compton, Rick Kelly, Christian Serratos, Leslie Bibb, Jerry Ferrara, Aja Evans, Alex Frost, Johnathon Schaech and Rick Kelly.






Welcome one and all to Flight 7500, just an average plane ferrying a motley assortment of well loved cliched characters from fog bound L.A. to sunny Tokyo.

Those boarding include the instantly forgettable Jenn (Evans), her boyfriend Jack (Dave Foley-alike Sharples) who are looking forward to spending their vacation with their equally photo-fit pals Brad (Home And Away's chubby cheeked Kwanten) and his square-faced ex Pia (Smart). Yup the pair have secretly split up but have kept it a secret to save ruining the holiday.

Hmmm....let's see how that works out for you.

Also along for the ride are (deep breath) a horse-faced chancer Jake (Frost), Lance a wooden businessman travelling with an even more wooden box (Kelly), the worried and period skipping Raquel (Serratos), mismatched newlyweds Rick (Ferrara) and Liz (Neighbours Pepper Steiger herself, Whelan) and token goth gal Jacinta (Taylor-Compton from loads of stuff), a character who not only appears to be constructed from Lego - honestly you could slash your wrists on her chin - but whose only purpose seems to be to talk about death for a bit in the hope of reminding viewers that this is a spooky movie and not a true life disaster film.

Which is nice work if you can get it.

Kelly Osbourne farted....and it was an eggy one.

Don't worry tho' dear viewers as the intolerable soap shenanigans don't end there as we've also got to put up with the excruciating fact that air hostesses Laura (chinny Bibb) is having an affair with married Captain Peter Haining; better known for writing - and rewriting all those non fiction Doctor Who books in the 80's -  (Schaech, bless you) and that poor Suzy (Sucker Punch popette Chung) is having second thoughts about her fiance.

The scariest thing so far tho' is that this entire info-dump takes place within the first 5 minutes of the movie meaning by this point my brain had started to dribble out of my eye sockets as I tried to remember who was who and who'd shags what and when.

Luckily for what was left of my mind things soon brightened up when the plane hits a pocket of turbulence which inadvertently causes Lance to start coughing up blood whilst pulling what can only be described as your dad's cum face.

Which I must admit brightened the film up no end.

Feeling all heroic, bashful Brad offers to help (in a medical way that is, not by offering to bring him to a satisfying climax) but to no avail as poor Lance dies in a spluttering tear soaked heap on the chair as the rest of the passengers look on in mild apathy.

Laura, being a professional cracks open the free peanuts and offers everyone a drink before informing pilot Peter of the unfortunate event in club class and Peter, knowing about flying and stuff, decides to continue on the flight path to Japan because planes can't land on the ocean.

See? This is educational too.


Bert from Suede's proposal took DLT by surprise.


The passengers, it has to be said, take everything in their stride until that is the stewards are forced to move them all to economy due to first class being used to store dead bodies.

As you can guess much grumpiness ensues followed by 50 minutes of random smoke effects, a couple of spooky hands grabbing folk, some strobe lighting and random clips of Bill Shatner from The Twilight Zone.

No really, can you imagine any airline actually showing the gremlin on a plane episode during a flight?

Fear not tho' dear reader because if that wasn't enough to show that there must be something creepy happening on the plane a totally superfluous subplot concerning a Japanese shinigami death doll appears from nowhere so as just to hammer home the fact that everyone might, in fact, already be dead and just not know it yet....

Possibly.

 


"Are you looking at my bra?"


Poor old Takashi Shimizu, I mean you've got to feel sorry for him even if his tale of woe has been told a thousand times before, which is a few thousand times less than this plot obviously but I digress.

Yup, after scaring us shitless with such classics as Ju-on The Grudge, Ju-on 2, Marebito and, um, Shock Labyrinth our reluctant hero was sneakily seduced by the Yankee dollar (and the offer of filming Sarah Michelle Geller in a comfy sweater) and forced to remake his classic The Grudge (but this time minus any scary bits) before being set packing back to Japan with a fly in his ear and a sad stain on his copybook.

You'd have think he'd have learned his lesson but oh no, he returned to bring us quite possibly the blandest spook show ever committed to celluloid.

And trust me, I sat thru' the whole of Robert Powell's The Survivor in one sitting.

Which is more than director David Hemmings ever did.


Who cares why Jesus is dressed as the gayest Spectrum agent ever, I just want to know who stole Jenny Agutter's other leg.





Playing out like a TV movie version of a rejected episode of the aforementioned Twilight Zone, 7500 commits the greatest crime that a twisty/turny supernatural thriller can ever do in the fact that:

A. The 'twist' ending couldn't be more obvious if it were paraded passed painted onto the side of camels during the title sequence.

B. It's not even remotely spooky.

and

C. Did I mention the ending?

Acting wise everyone involved tries their best which given the material they have to work with seems to consist of either looking vaguely worried or mildly concerned isn't saying much, tho' admittedly Leslie Bibb does pull quite a sexy scream faced when one of the other characters is eaten by an overhead locker.

No really.

Avoid.

Unless you have a fetish for air steward uniforms that is.